Damn

As I posted on my Facebook this morning, yesterday I rearranged the "office." It's a very small third bedroom that was clearly an amateur planetarium among the previous occupants. As we have moved in and settled down, it became a catch all, those random boxes that just seem never to get unpacked, full of old documents that could easily be discarded but you simply refuse on the grounds that something "important" might be in there (in this case, it's true, the dogs' AKC documents and some pertinent house-shit is among said "important" items). I have made several attempts since we moved in in November to make this room a functioning section of the house, hooking up the desktop computer, a second TV complete with Cable and DVD player. But between each useful attempt at, well, usefulness, the room undergoes a mysterious transformation back to trashy eyesore that mockingly beckons me to try again.

My most recent attempt (yesterday) cleared a lot of floor space and compacted the breadth of the desk and its components to something slightly more office-like. Despite awaiting the final word on a potential new job, I've been meaning to get into this room and treat it as my workspace, to write this novel of mine.

I'm in the second version of the third draft. I have a completed first draft, start middle, and finish. The second draft I made it two thirds of the way through (the book has three major movements) before succumbing to the muses telling me I needed to work on that beginning. Oh the beginning, how it pains me so. I started a third draft, tightening up the chapters, dropping info-dumps and slinging events at the reader and not caring about their potential questions as to what the hell I'm getting on about. But only about 10 chapters into the third draft, I was struck, the one thing I've heard and read from many writers over the years is that you must grab your reader by the balls and never let go, if you're not writing a whirlwind then you may just be wasting time. Not every book has to be action-packed, but the story I'm conveying is one of danger, unimaginable danger, and trying to survive it. So, I thought, fuck my imaginary people, they need an explosion! So I gave them one, and that immediately heightens the tension, there is a real-problem that needs to be resolved.

But I still suffer from this self-destructive force that makes me halt and criticize myself. I read something, play a game, see a movie or tv-show and see how they brought these seemingly innocuous threads together into a grand-tapestry. I have events in my head, but 100,000 words or more is a lot to actually keep track of (and the first draft is actually around 300,000!), and the events therein can become clouded even to me. I need something to keep me on track. Like a timeline. For some reason I always feel compelled to draw such a thing, or perhaps I need a pegboard with lots of multicolored threads. But then I learned I could make a "basic" timeline in Excel. So I started one and lo and behold having the visual reference of bullet points has allowed me to make small simple changes that allow for a greater payoff of storytelling. My goal at this point is to make a timeline of the first major movement of my grand tale, keep things in check, make a visual reference that I can make tick marks of completion with.

What do my writing habits and proceedings have to do with cleaning the office? I'm in the office right now, writing...my blog. Because I just now learned that the desktop computer does not have Excel. Defeated is a word I would use, for all this effort, I now have a pointless blog post.

As an aside, I would like to run a plug for a friend of mine, Kristen Butler Scheer, I went to Nathan Hale with her, and ran back into her over the internet as us twentieth century kids are wont to do. She has a blog, My Kid is a Jerk, it's awesome. Check it out, cause I said. All two of you (one of you being Kristen).

Step Right Up